Going green with tea could provide numerous health benefits

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    Going green. It’s one of the hottest trends of 2008.

    Recently, tips for going green on everything from cleaning supplies to fuel have sprouted up like rye grass, and not without need. I am 100 percent supportive of protecting Earth. But I want to talk about something green that’s more than just a trend and has actually been around for centuries.

    Green tea is not just a soothing beverage to complete a delicious sushi meal.

    Greentealovers.com reports that green tea is ranked as a leading health-giving substance in Chinese medicine, and has been scientifically shown to have an effect on health conditions such as heart health, hypertension, circulation, cholesterol, diabetes, the brain, strokes, the liver, the kidneys, the bowels and the skin. It also contains antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antibacterial qualities.

    Nadine Taylor, author of Green Tea, explained the power of antioxidants in the “Tea and Health” section of Greentea.com. She defines antioxidants as substances found in certain foods that fight against the damaging effects, such as cancer and heart disease, caused by free radicals in the body.

    Tea contains one of the most powerful antioxidants, called catechins. Taylor further explains that catechins can fight cancer before it starts, slow its progression and slow the growth of tumors. The Journal of the American Dietetic Association states that the catechins in green tea can also reduce the risk of coronary artery disease and gastric and esophageal cancer.

    Studies suggest drinking three to 10 cups of green tea a day to experience the health benefits. Green tea’s rise in popularity and availability make it easy to incorporate its goodness into your everyday routine.

    Grocery store shelves are stocked with several varieties of green tea, including many enticing flavors. I enjoy the Celestial Seasonings variety pack, which allows me to experiment with different tastes and combinations.

    Lipton and Nestea have come out with bottled green tea and tea-to-go packets. But, caution for added sugar should be taken when choosing your refreshment. Many times coffee shops use a powdered form of green tea called Matcha which has been sweetened. The Starbucks Web site informs consumers that one grande Green Tea Latte made with 2 percent milk, which contributes just eight grams of sugar, contains 40 grams. And the previously mentioned Lipton Iced Green Tea with Citrus packs 21 grams of sugar.

    A better choice would be to stick to good old fashioned tea bags or look for no sugar added bottled teas. If you prefer a creamier drink, steep the bags in hot milk or order a Green Tea Misto, which is simply green tea and steamed milk, next time you go to Starbucks.

    The Lipton Web site confirms that more research concerning tea antioxidants must be completed before drawing any conclusion on its effects on health and wellness.

    Even though research is in its early stages, the results are promising.

    So go ahead and go green.

    Kristina Keilson is a senior nutrition major from The Woodlands.